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Sunday, May 1, 2016

One thousand points and counting

Friday, February 3, 2012

A grand celebration. Verona High School recognized senior basketball player Wesley Kissinger for 1,000th career points. Kissinger received the game ball, which was used to break the 1,000-point mark. Pictured above, from left, are: Verona head basketball coach and Athletic Director Brad Stewart, Kissinger and Kissinger's parents, Vonda and Mike. [Times Photo by Jared Lankford]
Boys at Verona High School have two choices when it comes to athletics: track or basketball. Luckily for Wesley Kissinger, the latter has always been his passion.

"I grew up liking basketball. It kind of worked out, because you don't have many choices in Verona," said the senior guard. "I have played since I was in the third grade and have always enjoyed the game."

Kissinger has been a starter at Verona all four years. As a freshman, he chipped in 184 points. He scored 330 points as a sophomore and added 386 more points to his scoring total as a junior.

This season, Kissinger is averaging 17.3 points per game. He also has blocked six shots, grabbed 71 rebounds, picked up 27 steals and scored his 1,000th career point in an earlier game this year.

"I was glad to finally reach the scoring goal and get it out of the way," said Kissinger. "People in town kept asking me when I was going to reach it. Now I can focus on basketball."

Watching Kissinger mature and develop over the last four years has been a pleasure for Verona head basketball coach Brad Stewart.

"Wes is a great kid," said Stewart. "More importantly, he is a coachable athlete that has worked hard to become better each year. As a freshman, he was primarily a 3-point shooter. Now he has developed into an all-around scorer. It has been an honor to coach him."

Kissinger is the son of Mike and Vonda Kissinger and he credits his parents as being his role models growing up.

"My parents always stressed that I need to have fun with basketball," said Kissinger. "They didn't pressure me and let me develop my love for the game. They have always been supportive in the things I have done."

Despite reaching the 1,000th-point mark, Kissinger has his sights set on higher priorities.

"I would like to win a district title and make a playoff run," said Kissinger.

After graduation, Kissinger plans to attend college. He has narrowed his choices down to Southwest Baptist University, Missouri Southern State University and Drury University.

He plans to major in kinesiology.

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